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My 'epiphany moment' came some years back during BBC 'Question Time', when an audience member tackled prime minister Tony Blair about his promise to reduce to less than 24hrs, the time we had to wait to see our GP. Blair had thought that - as his figures showed that waiting lists had been cut beyond all recognition - surgeries had found a way to squeeze more of us in.
I'll never forget the look on his face as he learned how surgeries had got around the ban... How instead of booking us in for the next available slot if they were full that day, they told us to call back next morning when surgery opened, as they could only make appointments 'on the day'. You could see him picturing the nation's sick hauling themselves out of bed every morning to take part in long drawn out telephone queuing systems, only for many to receive the same message and have to go through the same process the following day.
Seeing the penny drop for Blair, made me realise that the Government doesn't really think things through properly! In this case, the long waiting times to see a GP were caused by there being insufficient GPs for the number of sick people needing medical help.
Nobody in Government had really stopped to consider this; they'd believed that introducing a new rule would solve the problem. It doesn't really work like that though does it? I understand that another ill-thought-out measure is being announced by the Prime Minister later today; this one part of several measures designed to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042.
Building on Tuesday's world-leading ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads, the Government is to extend the 5p carrier bag charge to all retailers in England, inject funding into plastics innovation and - to encourage industry to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products and make them easier to recycle - look at how the tax system or charges could further reduce the amount of waste we create.
So far, so good... The part that concerns me? The idea that the introduction of plastic-free aisles in supermarkets (to give consumers the choice to make greener decisions) is actually viable... Most supermarkets are already too large. Three hours spent shopping is three hours wasted and the idea of having somewhere else to look for what I need, fills me with dread...
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11th January 2018